The European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) aims at bringing Europe and its neighbours closer, to their mutual benefit and interest. It was conceived after the 2004 enlargement of the EU with 10 new member countries, in order to avoid creating new borders in Europe.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governs the EU's relations with 16 of the EU's closest Eastern and Southern Neighbours.

The ENP supports political and economic reforms in Europe’s neighbouring countries as a means of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the whole region. It is designed to give greater emphasis than previously to bilateral relations between the EU and each neighbouring country.

ENP review

The ENP was reviewed in 2011, following the 'Arab Spring' uprisings. However, given the significant developments in the Neighbourhood since 2011, it became essential to undertake a further review. Following a public consultation in 2015, involving partner countries, international organisations, social partners, civil society and academia, a Joint Communication setting out the main lines of the review of the ENP was published on 18 November 2015.

Under the revised ENP, stabilisation of the region, in political, economic, and security related terms, will be at the heart of the new policy. Moreover, the revised ENP puts a strong emphasis on two principles: the implementation of a differentiated approach to the EU’s Neighbours, to respect their different aspirations, and to better answer EU interests and the interests of its partners; and an increased ownership by partner countries and Member States.

"Our most pressing challenge is the stabilisation of our neighbourhood. Conflicts, terrorism and radicalisation threaten us all. But poverty, corruption and poor governance are also sources of insecurity. That is why we will refocus relations with our partners where necessary on our genuinely shared common interests. In particular economic development, with a major focus on youth employment and skills will be key," said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn.

Priority sectors

The new ENP mobilises efforts to support inclusive economic and social developmentcreating job opportunities for youth is among the key measures of economic stabilisation. There is a new focus on stepping up work with partner countries in the security sector, mainly in the areas of conflict-prevention, counter-terrorism and anti-radicalisation policies. Safe and legal mobility on the one hand and tackling irregular migration, human trafficking and smuggling on the other are further priorities. Finally, greater attention is paid to working with partners on energy security and climate action.

How the ENP works

In 2014, the ENP funding mechanism, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) was replaced by the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), an increasingly policy-driven instrument worth over €15 billion from 2014-2020, which provides for increased differentiation, more flexibility, stricter conditionality and incentives for best performers.

The bulk of ENI funding is used for bilateral cooperation, tailor-made to each Neighbourhood partner country. A key element in this context is the bilateral ENP Action Plans (AP), which are mutually agreed between the EU and each partner country. The AP sets out an agenda of political and economic reforms with short and medium-term priorities and serves as the political framework guiding the priorities for cooperation. Action Plans have been negotiated and formally adopted by all partner countries, apart from Belarus, Libya and Syria. An Action Plan with Algeria is currently under negotiation.

The ENP review proposes revised joint priorities for cooperation, better suited to the current challenges and adapted to the regions’ evolutions. In addition to good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights, three other sets of joint priorities have been identified, each of them covering a wide number of cooperation sectors:

  1. Economic development for stabilisation
  2. The security dimension
  3. Migration and mobility

In the framework of the reviewed ENP, the EU aims to develop a new style of assessment, focusing specifically on meeting the goals agreed with partners. These reports will be timed to provide the basis for a political exchange of views in the relevant high-level meetings with partner countries, such as Association/Cooperation Councils.

Multilateral partnerships

The ENP is chiefly a bilateral policy between the EU and each partner country. But it is complemented by regional and multilateral cooperation initiatives:

To find out more about the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), click here

 For key ENP policy documents, click here

This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.
**The EU suspended all its bilateral cooperation with the Government of Syria and its participation in regional programmes in 2011.

EU and Neighbours: evolving relations

Cooperation, peace and security, mutual accountability and a shared commitment to the universal values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, are the founding principles of the special relationship between the EU and the Neighbourhood countries of the East and the South. The aim of that partnership should be “to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterized by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation”, according to the Treaty on European Union. Since it was launched, in 2004, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has been strengthening relations, bringing tangible benefits to both the EU and its Neighbourhood partners, including the introduction of regional initiatives and support to democratisation.


collage of pictures relating to EU neigbhours



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Relations and goals will be further advanced through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), which has replaced the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) , so that it reflects real needs and considerations that have emerged over the years. The Regulation setting up the ENI underlines that it should give support to the implementation of the political initiatives shaping the ENP, including the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean.

Giving incentives and rewarding best performers, as well as offering funds in a faster and more flexible manner, are the two main principles underlying the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) worth over €15 billion from 2014-2020.

Based on the experiences gained until today, the ENI will support the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and turn decisions taken on a political level into actions on the ground. Effective from 2014 to 2020. the ENI seeks to streamline financial support, concentrating on agreed policy objectives, and make programming shorter and better focused, so that it is more effective.

The ENI will build on the achievements of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and bring more tangible benefits to both the EU and its Neighbourhood partners. It has a budget of €15.433 billion and will provide the bulk of funding to the European Neighbourhood countries through a number of programmes.

The 16 ENI Partner Countries are:

* EU Cooperation with Syria is currently suspended due to the political situation
** This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.

Relations with Russia: Russia has a special status, as relations with this country are not developed through the ENP, but a strategic partnership covering four “common spaces”. Therefore it is only eligible for ENI regional and Cross-Border Cooperation programmes, for which it co-finances projects. Bilateral cooperation with Russia is funded under the new Partnership Instrument (PI).


Infographic European Neigbhourhod Instrument

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The ENI – what’s new?

What makes this instrument more effective, is that, under the ENI, assistance to Neighbours will:

  • Become faster and more flexible, reducing the complexity and length of the programming process so that the relevance of the assistance is not undermined;
  • Offer incentives for best performers through the more-for-more approach that allows the EU to increase its support to those partners that are genuinely implementing what has been jointly agreed;
  • Be increasingly policy-driven based on the key policy objectives agreed with the partners, mainly in the ENP bilateral action plans;
  • Allow for greater differentiation so that the EU allocates a greater proportion of funds where aid can have the highest impact;
  • Aim for mutual accountability so that it takes greater account of human rights, democracy and good governance when it comes to allocating assistance.

The ENI will also encourage closer links between the EU and partner countries to enable their citizens to participate in successful EU internal programmes, such as on student mobility, youth programmes or support to civil society.

Special emphasis will be given to engagement with civil society. This funding instrument, that responds to the evolving relations between the EU and its partner countries, will continue to ensure the success of the democratisation process and improve economic and social development in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood. Itwill support the reform process already undertaken by the partner countries themselves.



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Six ENI targets

  • Fostering human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, equality, sustainable democracy, good governance and a thriving civil society;
  • Achieving progressive integration into the EU internal market and enhanced co-operation including through legislative approximation and regulatory convergence, institution building and investments;
  • Creating conditions for well managed mobility of people and promotion of people-to-people contacts;
  • Encouraging development, poverty reduction, internal economic, social and territorial cohesion, rural development, climate action and disaster resilience;
  • Promoting confidence building and other measures contributing to security and the prevention and settlement of conflicts;
  • Enhancing sub-regional, regional and Neighbourhood wide collaboration as well as Cross-Border Cooperation.

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How support is given

Support through the ENI is programmed and given in three different ways: 

  • Bilateral programmes covering support to one partner country; 
  • Multi-country programmes which address challenges common to all or a number of partner countries, and regional and sub-regional cooperation between two or more partner countries;
  • Cross-Border Cooperation programmes between Member States and partner countries taking place along their shared part of the external border of the EU (including Russia).

The Regulation setting up the ENI elaborates on the way it will work and the priority areas. Detailed information about each programme can be found in Annex II of the Regulation. More types of support and other programmes are available to the Neighbourhood. 

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Priority areas

Some of the ENI cooperation areas that will be given high priority are:

  • Boosting small businesses;
  • Civil-society engagement;
  • Climate change action;
  • Energy cooperation;
  • Gender equality promotion;
  • Gradual economic integration;
  • People-to-people contacts;
  • Transport connections;
  • Youth and employment.

Details about the priorities under the bilateral, the multi-country and the cross border cooperation programmes can be foundin Annex II of the ENI Regulation.

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Involving Civil Society

Through the ENI, the EU seeks to support the strengthening of the capa­city of civil society organisations to guarantee effective domestic accountability and local ownership, and to play a full role in the democratisation process. According to the ENI Regulation, external action partners, including civil society organisations and local authorities, are involved in preparing, implementing and monitoring EU support, given the importance of their roles. Furthermore, civil society organisations are called upon to participate in the development of the three financial programmes – the bilateral, the multi-country and the cross border cooperation – and will be, together with local and regional authorities, their main benefici­aries. A clear demonstration of the backing offered to civil society is the fact that support may even be increased, in case there is a serious regression in the country. More specifically, the ENI Regulation stipulates that the support and the amounts given to partner countries will be based on their progress achieve and thus can be reconsidered. However, this incentive-based approach shall not apply to support to civil society, people-to-people contacts, including cooperation between local authorities, support for the improvement of human rights, or crisis-related support measures. In the event of serious or persistent regression, such support may be increased, it underlines.

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From the ENPI to the ENI

The ENI will be replacing the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument – known as the ENPI. ENPI funding approved for the period 2007-2013 was €11.2 billion. 

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ENP and Action plans

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) aims at bringing Europe and its neighbours closer, supporting political and economic reforms in sixteen of Europe’s neighbouring countries as a means of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the whole region. It is designed to give greater emphasis than previously to bilateral relations between the EU and each neighbouring country.

The bilateral Action Plans are the main documents guiding the partnership between the EU and its partner countries participating in the ENP. This political document reflects the priorities agreed between a country and the EU and spells out the planned economic and political reforms with short and medium term priorities. More information can be found in the ENP section of this website.

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EU: a major donor

The EU is a major donor for the Neighbourhood. The total amount agreed for the EU’s external relations package is €51,419 million over the period 2014-2020. The Neighbourhood is also supported by some of the other instruments.

The other instruments and money allocated are:

  • Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA): €11,699 million
  • European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI): €15,433 million
  • Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI): €19,662 million
  • Partnership Instrument (PI): €955 million
  • Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IfSP): €2,339 million
  • European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR): €1,333 million

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The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a policy initiative launched at the Prague Summit in May 2009 that aims to bring the 6 Eastern neighbours  - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine - closer to the EU. It represents the Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and strengthens bilateral relations between the EU and its partners. It is based on shared values of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. It also encompasses support for a market economy, sustainable development and good governance.

The EU and partner countries leaders meet every other year in Eastern Partnership Summits.

The Joint Declaration of the EaP Summit in Riga, held in May 2015, emphasized the strategic importance of the Partnership as “one based on mutual interests and commitments and supporting sustained reform processes” in the Eastern Partner countries. The next Summit will take place in 2017.

The Partnership provides the framework for a stronger political engagement with the EU, namely:

  • a new generation of Association Agreements;
  • integration into the EU economy with deep free trade agreements;
  • easier travel to the EU through gradual visa liberalisation, accompanied by measures to tackle illegal immigration;
  • enhanced energy security arrangements;
  • increased financial assistance;
  • deeper cooperation on environment and climate issues;
  • increased people-to-people contacts and greater involvement of civil society.

On 27 June 2014, the EU signed Association Agreements (AA) with Georgia and the Republic of Moldova and completed the signature process with Ukraine, each providing for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). The Agreements will significantly deepen political and economic ties between the EU and the three Eastern Partnership countries with a long-term perspective of closer political association and economic integration.

As for ArmeniaAzerbaijan and Belarus, the EU has been applying a more tailored approach to relations with these countries in order to help ensure the inclusive nature of the Eastern Partnership taking into consideration the differences of the countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood, including when it comes to their foreign policy priorities. A new agreement is being negotiated with Armenia, whose political and economic cooperation with the EU will take account of Armenia's other international commitments. The EU is also considering entering a closer relationship with Azerbaijan, to better reflect the Union’s respective interests and values. With Belarus, the EU is deepening its critical engagement in carefully calibrated mutual steps.

The ENP review in November 2015 spelled out the EU's renewed approach to its eastern and southern neighbours. Under the revised ENP, stabilisation of the region, in political, economic, and security related terms, will be at the heart of the new policy. Moreover, the revised ENP puts a strong emphasis on two principles: the implementation of a differentiated approach to the EU’s Neighbours, to respect their different aspirations, and to better answer EU interests and the interests of its partners; and an increased ownership by partner countries and Member States.

How it works

The EU cooperates and supports EaP countries through bilateral and multilateral dimensions. The bilateral dimension supports political and socio-economic reforms in partner countries to:

  • Foster political association and further economic integration with the EU
  • Enhance sector cooperation
  • Support mobility of citizens and visa-free travel as a long-term goal.

The multilateral dimension complements bilateral relations with:

  • Thematic platforms to exchange best practices on issues of mutual interest: good governance, economic integration and growth, energy security and transport, contacts between people;
  • Flagship initiatives, which are regional cooperation programmes in the fields of: energy, environment, response to disasters, border management, support to small businesses.

This work is based on four thematic platforms, supported by various expert panels and a number of flagship initiatives. These initiatives seek to mobilise multi-donor support, funding from different International Financial Institutions and investment from the private sector:

There are four EaP main priority areas:

  • Mobility and people-to-people contacts
  • Market opportunities
  • Interconnections
  • Financial cooperation

Besides governments the EaP involves broader society. This is done through the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, the Conference of Local & Regional Authorities for the Eastern Partnership, the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly and the EaP Business Forum.


In the period of 2014-2020, the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), worth over EUR 15 billion, is the key EU financial instrument for cooperation with the EaP countries.

In 2007-2013, the funding came from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Nearly EUR 2.5 billion was made available for cooperation programmes with Eastern European Partners in 2010-2013. This included EUR 350 million of additional funds made available when the Eastern Partnership was launched.

Find out more

EaP – EU External Action webpage

EaP Frequently Asked Questions

EaP documents

Eastern Partnership - a policy that delivers

Eastern Partnership from Prague to Riga

Eastern Partnership: Multilateral Cooperation

EU - Armenia

EU - Azerbaijan

EU - Belarus

EU - Georgia

EU - Moldova

EU - Ukraine

Milestones Eastern Partnership


  • 1 January – DCFTA between Ukraine and EU becomes operational


  • 25 March - ENP Progress reports on 5 Eastern Neighbours
  • 21-22 May – EaP Summit in Riga
  • 1 September – Beginning of the provisional application of DCFTA between EU and Georgia, some provisions of AA/DCFTA between EU and Moldova enter into force
  • 18 November – European Commission presents a review of European Neighbourhood Policy(ENP) 


  • 21 March - Ukraine signs political part of Association Agreement
  • 27 March - ENP Progress reports on 5 Eastern Neighbours
  • 28 April – citizens of Moldova start travelling visa-free to Europe 
  • 27 June – Georgia and Moldova sign Association Agreements; Ukraine signs Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions of Association Agreement.\
  • The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) comes into force with a budget of EUR15.4 billion for the period 2014-2020 replacing the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument  (ENPI).


  • 20 March - ENP Progress reports on 5 Eastern Neighbours
  • 29 November - Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit in Vilnius: Moldova and Georgia initial Association Agreements with EU; Ukraine (under then President Yanukovich) defers initialling, which results in mass protests leading to fall of government and early elections




  •  EU strengthens European Neighbourhood Policy with €5.7 billion for 2011-2013






  • Commission communication on European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)


The ‘Union for the Mediterranean'‚ was launched in Paris on 13 July 2008 in a bid to give a new impulse to the Barcelona Process, according to the Joint Declaration adopted at the heads of state or government meeting.

 According to the Paris Declaration, a new impulse would be achieved in at least three very important ways:

  • by upgrading the political level of the EU’s relationship with its Mediterranean partners;
  • by providing for further co-ownership to our multilateral relations;
  • by making these relations more concrete and visible through additional regional and subregional projects, relevant for the citizens of the region.

In launching the UfM, Heads of State and Government identified the following six priority areas:

  • De-pollution of the Mediterranean
  • Maritime and land highways
  • Civil protection
  • Alternative energies: Mediterranean solar plan
  • Higher education and research, Euro-Mediterranean University
  • The Mediterranean Business Initiative 

The Union for the Mediterranean encompasses the 27 EU member states, the European Commission and 16 Mediterranean countries. The Marseille meeting decided that the League of Arab States would participate in all meetings at all levels of the UfM.

 The 43 member states of the UfM are:

 Austria; Algeria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; The Czech Republic; Egypt; Finland; Germany; Hungary; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Malta; Monaco; Morocco; Portugal; Romania; Slovenia; Sweden; Tunisia; The United Kingdom; Albania; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Denmark; Estonia; France; Greece; Ireland; Israel; Jordan; Lebanon; Luxemburg; Mauritania; Montenegro; The Netherlands; Palestine; Poland; Slovakia; Spain; Syria; Turkey.

The UfM is chaired by a co-presidency shared between the two shores. Since 2012, it is assumed by the European Union on the Northern side, ensuring a close link with the European Neighbourhood Policy, and by Jordan on the Southern side, allowing its full appropriation by the Southern countries. The co-presidency applies to all levels: summits, ministerial meetings, and officials’ level meetings.

 UfM Secretariat – regional cooperation, projects, variable geometry

In March 2010, the Barcelona Headquarters of the UfM Secretariat were inaugurated, housed in the emblematic Palacio de Pedralbes, once the Barcelona residence of the Spanish royal family. Since 1 March 2012, Fathallah Sijilmassi has been Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean.

In an interview with the Tunisian media in September 2015, the UfM Secretary General emphasised that the UfM seeks to play a role in improving people’s lives in the Euro-Mediterranean region: “It is important that the various policies engaged in the region materialise through concrete actions, aiming to bring stability and development in the region. The objective of the Union for the Mediterranean is to promote projects and regional initiatives that have a direct impact on the lives of citizens.”

Previously, in a video interview conducted in 2013, Secretary General Sijilmassi said the UfM’s action plan was based on three main pillars:

  • Regional cooperation – “we believe that one of the keys to growth, and to employment and job creation is regional integration, so we try to promote regional cooperation.”
  • Concrete projects – “we actually implement projects having a benefit for the population, a benefit for growth and social development in the countries.”
  • Variable geometry – “we don’t need to implement all our projects with all the 43 countries, but we need to put it within the framework of the 43 countries – this is why we label the projects but then the implementation and the stakeholders can be in a certain number of countries.”

The mandate of the UfM Secretariat is focused on identifying, processing, promoting and coordinating projects, which enhance and strengthen cooperation, and impact directly on the livelihoods of citizens.

UfM Secretariat website


The UfM proactively gathers regional, sub-regional, or transnational projects in in six strategic priority areas which are business developmentsocial and civil affairshigher education and researchtransport and urban developmentwater and environment, and  energy and climate action.

While the size and scope of projects may vary – from micro-projects on employment and women entrepreneurship to macro initiatives such as the Mediterranean Solar Plan – they all share a strong political and economic relevance.

Projects can be proposed by national, regional and local authorities and institutions, the private sector, international institutions and civil society organisations.

Following examination and assessment of submissions, the Secretariat recommends projects for the UfM ‘label’, with the final decision taken by the Senior Officials’ Meetings of the 43 members.

Once a project receives the UfM ‘label’, the Secretariat works to facilitate its promotion, especially its financing needs, in collaboration and agreement with the project’s promoters. This requires the Secretariat contacting/discussing with funding banks and institutions, as well as assisting in removal of obstacles or impediments. Once financing arrangements have been finalised and the project launched, the Secretariat monitors its implementation, ensuring that criteria required for obtaining and keeping the UfM 'project label' are being met.

A list of UfM projects can be found here

Senior Officials’ Meetings

The partners of the Union for the Mediterranean meet on a regular basis at the level of Senior Officials of the Foreign Affairs departments of the 43 partner countries, EU institutions and the League of Arab States.

Senior Officials’ meetings (SOM) oversee and coordinate the work of the Union for the Mediterranean.They approve the budget and the work programme of the Secretariat and prepare meetings of Foreign Ministers. They also discuss the project proposals submitted by the Secretariat for approval and endorsement. Senior Officials take decisions by consensus.

Parliamentary Assembly - Union for Mediterranean (PA-UfM)

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean builds on the work of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly established in 2004 as the parliamentary dimension of the Partnership set up by the 1995 Barcelona Declaration.

The PA-UfM consists of 280 members, equally distributed between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean. The PA-UfM holds at least one plenary session per year. It adopts resolutions or recommendations – though these are not legally binding – on all aspects of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation that concern the executive organs of the UfM, the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the national governments of partner countries.

Euro-Mediterranean Local and Regional Assembly (ARLEM)

ARLEM is a consultative assembly, which aims to increase the involvement of local and regional actors in the Union for the Mediterranean and to give it a territorial dimension. It gathers 84 Members from the 43 UfM member states, who are representatives of regions and local bodies holding a regional or local authority mandate. The inaugural ARLEM meeting took place on 21 January 2010 at the Pedralbes Palace in Barcelona.

Useful links

UfM Secretariat website

Paris Declaration (Heads of State - 13 July 2008)

Marseilles Declaration (Foreign Ministers - 4 November 2008)

Euro-Mediterranean cooperation milestones


  • The European Commission publishes a joint communication on the ENP review on 18 November
  • The European Commission launches a consultation on the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) on 4 March


  • The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) replaces the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). It has a budget of €15.433 billion and is effective from 2014 to 2020.
  • ENP Country progress reports


  • Fathallah Sijilmassi appointed Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean on 1 March, 2012.




  • Launch of the Union for the Mediterranean


  • Launch of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument